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Ex vivo diffusion tensor imaging and quantitative tractography of the rat spinal cord during long-term recovery from moderate spinal contusion. J Magn Reson Imaging 2008 Nov;28(5):1068-79



Pubmed ID




Scopus ID

2-s2.0-55749096716   44 Citations


PURPOSE: To characterize DTI metric changes throughout the length of the entire spinal cord from the acute through chronic stages of spinal cord injury (SCI).

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Ex vivo DTI was performed at 9.4 Tesla to examine changes in water diffusion throughout the entire spinal cord (7-cm) up to 25 weeks after injury in a rat model of contusive SCI. Animals were grouped according to recovery times after injury (2, 5, 15, 20, or 25 weeks), and various DTI metrics were evaluated including transverse and longitudinal apparent diffusion coefficient (tADC and lADC), mean diffusivity (MD), and fractional anisotropy (FA).

RESULTS: An overall decrease in lADC throughout the cord and decreases in MD remote from the lesion site were observed, along with an increase in tADC within fiber tracts throughout the recovery period. These trends were statistically significant at P<0.05 and were found in both white and gray matter regions. tADC and lADC distributions in fiber bundles extracted using DTI tractography were well fit by an exponential model (R=0.998) with time constants of 4.6 and 3.3 days, respectively.

CONCLUSION: Results from the current study support the hypothesis that the spinal cord undergoes continual changes during recovery from SCI.

Author List

Ellingson BM, Kurpad SN, Schmit BD


Shekar N. Kurpad MD, PhD Chair, Professor in the Neurosurgery department at Medical College of Wisconsin
Brian Schmit PhD Professor in the Biomedical Engineering department at Marquette University

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Anatomy, Cross-Sectional
Diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted
Nerve Fibers, Myelinated
Rats, Sprague-Dawley
Recovery of Function
Spinal Cord
Spinal Cord Injuries